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Interfaith Dialogue ( 10 Jun 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Is It Permissible To Insult Non-Muslims And Their Gods, As Well As Interfere With Their Religious Practises?

Insulting Non-Muslims and Their Gods is Not Permissible in Islam

Main Points

1.    Islam prohibits Muslims from abusing non-Muslims or their idols.

2.    Islam forbids Muslims from not just insulting the gods of other peoples, but also from disturbing non-Muslims while they pray.

3.    A hadith reads: A sincere believer does not taunt, curse, abuse, or speak indecently.

4.    Muslims are not allowed to harm or destroy the property of non-Muslims.

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By New Age Islam Staff Writer

11 June 2022

Nupur Sharma's remarks on the Prophet (peace be upon him) in a television debate in May enraged Indian Muslims and angered more than a dozen Islamic countries. Following the suspension of BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma, the party issued a statement saying it was "against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion" and added that it did not "promote such people or philosophy".

In an attempt to appease enraged Islamic countries, Indian officials maintained the remarks did not reflect the government's position and were the "opinions of fringe elements." After two weeks, the Delhi Police have filed FIRs against former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, sacked BJP leader Naveen Jindal, and journalist Saba Naqvi, among others, for making hate comments on social media.

While reading headlines and comments about Nupur Sharma, I came across a query on social media asking whether Islam permits insulting non-Muslim gods and idols.

The answer has been very clearly mentioned in the Quran. Allah Almighty says, “And do not abuse those whom they [disbelievers] worship besides Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity out of ignorance. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds; then to their Lord shall be their return, so He will inform them of what they did.” (The Quran, 6:108)

This verse has been referenced by Muslim scholars and jurists in their separate volumes of Tafasir and Fiqh books to admonish Muslims not to insult the idols and Gods of non-Muslims. The Al Azhar Fatwa Global Centre released a Fatwa in this regard in 2017, which was widely shared on social media. Because this fatwa deals with our main topic in a pretty balanced way, I've revised and reproduced it below for the readers, in the hope that they will share it on social media so that it reaches a wider audience.

Is It Permissible To Insult Non-Muslims And Their Gods, As Well As Interfere With Their Religious Practises?

Answer: According to Islamic Sharia, each Muslim, as well as the Muslim community and leadership, has a responsibility to defend human lives, dignity, and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion and worship. These are the main universal purposes of Islamic Sharia. As a result, the following facts must be stated:

First, Islam promotes human dignity and rights by allowing people of different races, nationalities, ethnicities, colours, religions, sexes, and ages to practise their religious rites without discrimination.

Second, the Prophet's biography is full of inspiring instances of human dignity, freedom of religion, and respect for human dignity. In his words to kings and emperors of his day, for example, the Prophet expresses his respect for their right to worship and their unique religious doctrines. He never cursed or derided them.

The beloved Prophet states in his letter to Egypt's Ruler—al-Muqawqis,

“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

“From Muhammad Ibn Abdullah to al-Muqawqis, the chief of Copts

“May peace be with all who follow the path of guidance! I'd like to share the message of Islam with you. You will be protected if you accept Islam. Accept it, and Allah will increase your reward twofold. "O People of Earlier Revelations, let us all come to a reasonable understanding among ourselves that we shall not worship anybody but Allah, that we will never assign divinity to anyone else, and that none of us will give others the rank of Lord besides Allah." If they refuse, tell them, "Behold, we submit ourselves to Allah." (Ibn Sayyed al-Nas al-Shafiʻi, ʻUyun al-Athar, p. 332, al-Zaylaʻi, Nasb al-Raya, 4:421-422).

Similarly, Islam prohibits Muslims from abusing non-Muslims or their idols. Allah Almighty says in the Quran,

“And do not abuse those whom they [disbelievers] worship besides Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity out of ignorance. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds; then to their Lord shall be their return, so He will inform them of what they did.” (The Quran, 6:108)

Many Quranic exegetes offered diverse narrations about the cause of revelation of the aforementioned verse in their commentaries. Some Muslims used to insult pagans' idols, which led to insults being exchanged between the two groups. (Tafsir-e-Ibn Kathir, 2: 164).  As a result, Allah forbade Muslims from insulting idols. Simply said, insulting them just adds to their arrogance and obstinacy. According to Muslim scholars, the rule of this verse is effective and enduring in all circumstances. As a result, Muslims must refrain from insulting non-Muslims, their gods, beliefs, or religions. These actions merely invite sin." (Tafsir Al-Qurtubi, 7:61)

Third, Muslims are not allowed to harm or destroy the property of non-Muslims. A Muslim should be held accountable if he or she hurts or damages non-Muslim property such as the cross, wine, pigs, or other animals. (Al-Mirghinani, al-Hidayah, 4: 307). The Muslim ruler has the authority to punish the criminal in any way he sees fit.

Fourth, Islam forbids Muslims from not just insulting the gods of other peoples, but also from disturbing non-Muslims while they pray. It amply demonstrates Islamic tolerance. In several situations, non-Muslims developed their rituals in the mosque, according to Muslim history. When the prophet welcomed a Christian delegation from Najran in his mosque, for example, he permitted them to pray within the mosque without being disturbed. According to Ibn Kathir, Ibn Ishaaq's account of the occurrence was as follows:

“In Medina, a delegation visited Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him). After the Prophet had said the Asr prayer, they entered his masjid in their finest gowns and clothes... When the Messenger's Companions saw them, they remarked they had never seen a delegation like them before. When it was time for them to worship, they rose to their feet and entered the Prophet's mosque. 'Let them [do not bother them],' the Prophet remarked to his companions. They prayed in the direction of the east.

To summarise, Muslims are not permitted to insult non-Muslims or to insult their beliefs or gods. It is also forbidden to disrupt them while they are praying. Furthermore, Muslims should be tolerant and kind to their neighbours, refraining from using abusive words or deeds. The beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, "A sincere believer does not taunt, curse, abuse, or speak indecently," (Hadith narrated by Ahmad and al-Tirmidhi).

Ishoyahbh, the patriarch from A.D. 647 to 657, writes, "The Arabs, to whom God gave the governance of the world, behave against us as you know. They are not anti-Christian; rather, they exalt our faith, honour priests and saints, and support churches and monasteries." (A. S. Tritton, Caliphs and Their Non-Muslim Subjects: A Critical Study of the Covenant of 'Umar, p. 139)


URL:    https://newageislam.com/interfaith-dialogue/muslims-gods-religious-practises/d/127223

  

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